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‘less’ with code syntax highlighting!

Posted by on March 2, 2016

If you’ve installed a reasonably up-to-date version of vi(m), there is a script called less.sh in your $VIMRUNTIME directory, which acts as an replacement of less providing syntax highlighting.

To use this script, you just have to follow these simple steps:

For the lazy like me:

  • sudo ln -s `ls /usr/share/vim/vim*/macros/less.sh | tail -n 1` /usr/bin/vless

For the diligent:

  • Launch vi and type :echo $VIMRUNTIME.
    This shows you the path to the vi files.
    On my Ubuntu box this is /usr/share/vim/vim74.
  • Now create the symlink: sudo ln -s /usr/share/vim/vim74/macros/less.sh /usr/bin/vless.
    If you’ve got another path before, you have to edit this command appropriately.
  • That’s all. Now vless acts fairly similar to less with paging and now with syntax highlighting: vless myfile.py

Of course, vless can also be used within shell pipes:

  • wget -qO- http://www.hartzenberg.net/blog/feed | vless

Props to this guy!

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